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Cranial bone histology of Metoposaurus krasiejowensis (Amphibia, Temnospondyli) from the Late Triassic of Poland

Cranial bone histology of Metoposaurus krasiejowensis (Amphibia, Temnospondyli) from the Late Triassic of Poland:

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In this study, 21 skull bones of Metoposaurus krasiejowensis from the Late Triassic of Poland were investigated histologically. Dermal bones show a diploë structure, with an ornamented external surface. The ridges consist of mostly well vascularized parallel-fibered bone; the valleys are built of an avascular layer of lamellar bone. The thick middle region consists of cancellous bone, with varying porosity. The thin and less vascularized internal cortex consists of parallel-fibered bone. The numerous Sharpey’s fibers and ISF are present in all bones. The cyclicity of growth is manifested as an alternation of thick, avascular annuli and high vascularized zones as well as a sequence of resting lines. The detailed histological framework of dermal bones varies even within a single bone; this seems to be related to the local biomechanical loading of the particular part of the skull. The dynamic processes observed during the ornamentation creation indicate that the positions of the ridges and grooves change during growth and could be a specific adaptation to changing biomechanical conditions and stress distribution during bone development. In the supratemporal, the cementing lines show that the remodeling process could be involved in the creations of sculpture. The common occurrence of ISF suggests that metaplastic ossification plays an important role during cranial development. Endochondral bones preserved the numerous remains of calcified cartilage. This indicates that ossification follows a pattern known for stereospondyl intercentra, with relatively slow ossification of the trabecular part and late development of the periosteal cortex. The large accumulation of Sharpey’s fibers in the occipital condyles indicates the presence of strong muscles and ligaments connecting the skull to the vertebral column.

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